Monday May 24, 2021
Updated on 6/2/2021
Washington State has one of the longest and most convoluted histories in access to medical marijuana, reaching all the way back to 1979. While medical marijuana was technically approved in the state in 1998 under Initiative 692, An Act Relating to the medical use of marijuana it was not fully codified and formalized until 2015, with SB 5052, The Cannabis Patient Protection Act, after the state’s recreational market was established. Now, the state is home to a robust medical marijuana system, albeit with some unusual quirks. Cards are issued from medical retailers, but the process is instant once you have your physician’s approval.
Thanks to telemedicine, obtaining a medical marijuana card is fast and easy for those with a qualifying condition. Simply make an appointment, have your consultation, and get approved. Once you’re approved you can take your approval to a medical retailer and they will register with the state. Once you’re registered, you can shop as a med patient!
Get your Washington Medical Marijuana Card Online
To get your Washington Medical ID Card, Follow These Steps:
- Connect with a telemedicine provider or licensed WA physician.
- Get approved and take your approval to a licensed medical retailer.
- The retailer will register you with the state and issue a card.
- Shop at a Washington dispensary!
*Note: Registration is voluntary for adult patients (age 18 and older), but required for minor patients (under age 18) and their designated provider.
How Much Does a Washington Medical Marijuana Card Cost?
Adult patients who choose to enroll in the state registry are required to pay a $1 fee for the medical marijuana card. Keep in mind the law does not restrict retail stores from charging more than the $1. The average cost for each card may be between $1 and $10 (or more) depending on which store you go to. A telemedicine physician's consultation has a cost of roughly $199.
What Documents Do I Need for the Appointment?
For your appointment with a doctor for consultation, you’ll want to have readied any documents relevant to your medical history showing that you qualify for an accepted condition, as well as a state-issued ID. If you’re unsure what documents you may need, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and inquire with your recommending physician.
Once approved, you’ll need to take your physician’s approval and a state-issued ID with you to the medical retailer to be registered with the state. When issuing your ID, your picture will be taken as well.
How Long Does the Consultation Process Take?
Your physician’s consultation will typically take 10-15 minutes. You can take your physician’s approval to any medical retailer to be registered and issued a medical card on the spot.
Applying to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient:
The application process can be broken into 2 major steps:
1. Physician Certification Form
Applicants must visit a Washington-licensed physician. This can be completed online via telemedicine as well. This visit will typically have a fee associated with it.
To prepare for your visit, gather any medical information or records pertinent to your qualifying condition. This is typically only needed for certain conditions, and you can always ask your consulting physician what might be needed. You will also need a valid state ID (such as a driver’s license).
After meeting with your physician, you’ll be provided with a copy of the physician’s approval. Save this for later, as you’ll need it to take to a medical retailer to complete your registration.
2. Visit a Medical Retailer
Unlike other states, medical patients do not register with the state’s system themselves, nor does the state issue cards directly. Instead, you take your physician's approval to a medical retailer (an approved medical dispensary or a recreational dispensary that is approved to sell medical products), and they will enter your registration for you and issue you an ID card. The fee that you pay the retailer must be at least $1, but can be more expensive (the price is at the discretion of the retailer). Once your card is issued you are considered approved and registered in the system and will enjoy the protections of benefits of medical patients immediately.
Which Conditions can Qualify for a Washington Medical Cannabis Certificate & Card?
Qualifying Health Conditions Include:
- Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.
- Crohn's disease with debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
- Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.
- Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications.
- Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Traumatic brain injury.
Is Registering with the Washington Department of Health Necessary?
Registration is voluntary for adult patients (age 18 and older); but required for minor patients (under age 18) and their designated provider (parent/legal guardian).
What are the medical marijuana possession limits in Washington?
All Cardholders in the State May Possess Up To:
- Three ounces of usable marijuana,
- Forty-eight ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form,
- Two hundred sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form
- or, twenty-one grams of marijuana concentrate.
Patients who cultivate their own cannabis are also allowed to possess higher amounts, but only if the cannabis is from their own crop. For the standard 6 plants, all medical cardholders are allowed to grow, a patient may possess up to eight ounces of personally cultivated usable marijuana. Those with extended plant counts (up to 15), may possess up to 16 oz (1lb) of useable marijuana.
Can I Grow Cannabis as a Medical Marijuana Patient in Washington?
Personal marijuana home grows are currently prohibited under Washington State law without a medical marijuana authorization.
A qualifying patient with authorization may grow up to 4 plants within their home or property away from public view.
A qualifying patient who is registered in the Medical Marijuana Authorization Database and has a recognition card may grow 6 to 15 plants, depending on their healthcare practitioner’s recommendation. The number of plants recommended is specified on the qualifying patient or designated provider’s authorization and card.
Note: No more than 15 plants may be grown or located in any one housing unit even if multiple qualifying patients or designated providers reside in the housing unit.
Unfortunately, there Washington does not allow for medical marijuana patient reciprocity in any way at this time.